To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 66:10-14; 1 Cor 14:4-13; Mt 18:1-4
It is extraordinary that even though she was a Cloistered Carmelite nun for most of her short adult life, Thérèse managed to be more outward looking than most of us who are on the outside. She was an extraordinary woman who though she died when she was only 24 years of age left behind a legacy that is so relevant even 116 years after her death.
She was born on January 2, 1873 and died on September 30, 1897 and is known variously as “St. Theresa of the Child Jesus”, “The Little Flower of Jesus” or simply “The Little Flower.”
Thérèse’s approach to spirituality was simple and practical and that is why she is one of the most popular saints in the Church today. She is along with St. Francis Xavier, the Patron Saint of Mission.
Shortly before she died, Thérèse wrote: "I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth." And good indeed she did do.
The text of today is taken from what is termed by some as Matthew’s “Community Discourse” (18:1-35).
The discourse begins with a question about the disciples regarding greatness. Unlike in Mark 9:33, there is no dispute among the disciples about who is the greatest. In his response, Jesus makes clear that being in the kingdom or coming into it, is not a matter of one’s talents or qualities, but “becoming like a child”. In first-century Judaism, children were often regarded as inferior and were treated as property rather than as persons. The point Jesus makes here is that one must acknowledge dependence on the Father. The reception of a child is an indication that one has accepted the values of the kingdom and one is no longer concerned about being greatest.
Since God does not give up on anyone, Christians must also be prepared to accept those who may have strayed. Not only must they be valued, but they must also be sought out like God himself seeks them. The focus in Matthew’s parable is on the sheep that has gone astray. This means that the straying members of the community ought to be the focus also of the community.
While to be a Christian one has to make an individual commitment, one cannot forget that Christianity is also and even primarily a communitarian religion. This means that each is responsible for the other. I am indeed my brother or sister’s keeper.